Floaty ruffles and print were all the rage as punters descended on Kenilworth Racecourse for the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival yesterday.
Even former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni set aside his usual objections to being photographed, and posed for pictures in a stylish floral print shirt paired with sunglasses, cream slacks and Gucci loafers.
“Yes, I’ll be betting on the horses. I must still study the book, though,” he said.
In the mix was actress Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, who runs her own maternity fashion range.
“I’m here purely for the fashion, I don’t care about the horses,” she said.
Mlotshwa, who is married to Black Coffee, has lost any trace of mommy fat, her navel visible through a skimpy cream suit ensemble by Johannesburg designer Ryan Keys. She said the family had returned to Mzansi from Ibiza two months ago. Her husband mans the decks at the popular nightclub Hï Ibiza.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was seen ambling around, glued to his smartphone. “Sorry guys,” he told journalists. “I’m looking for my friend, he is lost. Please excuse me for now.”
More celebrities draped in the event’s blue and white theme included radio and TV presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen, sporting a massive diamond on her ring finger. Van der Westhuizen got engaged to Mike Fannin, her boyfriend of four years, during a trip to Mozambique over the festive season.
“We were camping on a deserted island up in the north. Well, you know, he went down on one knee at sunset. Such a thoughtful guy – I mean, he asked my parents via WhatsApp just the previous day,” she said, twirling under a wide turquoise hat.
Fellow radio and TV presenter Leigh-Anne Williams caused ripples by entering the VIP tent in a wide Kobus Dippenaar gauze skirt, which billowed under her like a cloud. Thuli Mola of Johannesburg fashion house Style Alert SA dazzled in a plunging blue floral pantsuit, revealing plenty of cleavage and skin.
Cape Town rising fashion star Mzukisi Mbane, who started out making clothes using his mother’s sewing machine, was in the VIP tent, as were several guests decked out in his label Imprint.
“This year, people are pushing their fashion; it’s bolder. We’re really starting to embrace an African aesthetic. The rest of the world is looking to us for that,” said Mbane.
Popular public sector doctor Sivuyile Madikana – known as Dr Sivu on social media – arrived in a white suit, smiling at fans and journalists.
Last year’s best-dressed winner, model Mala Bryan, the founder of Malaville Toys, which makes dark-skinned dolls for black children, looked beautiful again in a fitting embroidered white and turquoise frock. At her side was her sister, Nasheka Bryan, who will start her studies in medicine next year.
VIP guests at the Stud Lounge were treated to a lunch of pumpkin fritters, rare beef with pesto, and salmon salad with pomegranate kernels and cream cheese. The tent, pitched next to the racing green, was draped in white and blue strelitzias, art blossoms and irises, with bottles of L’Ormarins Brut bubbly cooling in ice buckets.
The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate started out as the pet project of Hanneli Rupert, sister of Forbes-listed business tycoon Johann.
After the day’s track events, as the sun set over Cape Town, the marquees transformed into afterparties, featuring DJ PH of Metro FM fame and award-winning hip-hop twin duo, the Major League DJz.